There are 400-plus prop bets offered and counting for Super Bowl 51. Here are a couple of our favorites from a Patriots perspective that come Super Bowl Sunday will cash some tickets.
TOTAL PASS ATTEMPTS BY: TOM BRADY (NE)
Analysis: Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel’s game plan in the second half of the season has been to air it out. Tom Brady has attempted 37 passes or more in half of his 14 games in 2016; all but one has occurred since Week 10. What’s extra appealing about the bet is that New England has been tied or held a lead at halftime in everyone; it has been up by a field goal or more headed into the fourth quarter in each, too. This tells us Brady and company were not forced to go to the air to chase a lead. New England’s short passing attack is their bread and butter. It’s what allows them to own the second most efficient offense in the NFL behind the Falcons. Don't expect the script to be flipped for this one.
Another angle worth noting is that there is a nice correlation between the number of passes Brady tosses in a contest versus the average touchdowns allowed through the air by opposing defenses this season. Moral of the story: the Pats are going to go after vulnerable pass units. As you can see in the table below, Brady attempted 33 passes or fewer in each of four games against defenses allowing one TD or less through the air entering a game. The Falcons are on the upper end of this spectrum, gifting 2.0 touchdowns per tilt via the pass headed into Super Bowl 51.
|Passing TDs Allowed||Brady Passes|
Free Super Bowl LI Pick: OVER 36.5 (-110)
TOTAL QB SACKS BY: PATRIOTS DEFENSE
Analysis: So, Matt Ryan is Superman in a clean pocket. According to Pro Football Focus, he owns a 131.1 passer rating when unhurried, more than 10 points better than any other NFL quarterback this season. Do you think New England head coach Bill Belichick knows this? You bet, and he isn’t going to let his secondary get picked apart as a result.
The Pats had one rusher (Chris Long) record 40 or more total QB pressures in 2016, which is a good thing for this wager. The Falcons will have a tough time preparing for where the hurries will come from. Exploiting individual matchups and working in unique schemes is Belichick’s specialty.
The Falcons allowed two or more sacks in all but four games this season; seven of three or more. New England, meanwhile, registered two or more in 13 games. Though the Pats have recorded three or more in just five games, all but one came in the second half of the season. At worst this bet likely pushes, but with the amount of time Ryan is expected to operate in the pocket, it’s good value on the OVER.